ME1033 Open and User Innovation 7.5 credits

Öppen och användardriven innovation

The course concerns the sources of innovations and firms’ innovation strategies. We will go through how firms traditionally work with internal R&D and then emphasize on ways for the firm to connect to external sources of innovations, for example universities, suppliers, users and so forth.

We will, however, put most emphasize on the users of the services or products, because it has been found that users are a particular important source of innovation. Furthermore, we will discuss the challenges of opening up for external ideas and also look at firms that are “born open”. The course will distinguish between different types of the firm’s outbound activities to engage users in the innovation process; crowdsourcing, idea contests, innovation communities and lead-user method.

There will a special lecture of innovation communities and we will look into active communities as well as some historic ones such as the famous Homebrew Club for personal computers in Silicon Valley in the 70’s. This will lead us to pose questions such as why individuals put in so much time and effort into creating new products and services without being paid to do so. We will, therefore, scrutinize the underlying mechanisms for open source software and talk about the lessons learned in e.g. the development of Linux.

These types of innovations are not created within the boundaries of a firm or in an organizational setting of the firm. Sometimes when users have created an innovation they chose to commercialize it themselves, and we shall look a bit deeper into what is now being called user entrepreneurs. Well known cases are the Wright Brothers and Google.

We will touch upon related topics such as open data, open science, eco-systems etc.

  • Education cycle

    First cycle
  • Main field of study

  • Grading scale

    A, B, C, D, E, FX, F

Course offerings

Autumn 19 for programme students CANCELLED

Autumn 18 for programme students

Intended learning outcomes

This course starts with a discussion of what innovation is and how innovation relates to entrepreneurship. In this way we will also discuss the learning targets for the course and how this will be achieved. For example what skills can be expected to be learned and when can these be used, and how do these skills work in the context of your future professions as entrepreneurs, experts, developers, managers and so forth.

At the end the course, the students should be able to:

  • Understand the historical context of innovation strategy and how the Internet affects innovation strategy.
  • Understand how and why innovations appear in different sectors of the Economy.
  • Analyze different approaches to innovation and what outcomes that can be expected.
  • Understand the fundamentals of innovation communities.
  • Develop skills to manage an R&D process external to a firm, e.g. the lead-user method or an innovation community.
  • Increase your knowledge of real-life cases such as the Procter & Gamble “Connect + Develop”.

Course main content

1.      Innovation stratege

2.      Sources of innovation

3.      Opening up the firm

4.      Barriers to innovation

5.      Social structures of non-firm innovations

Each part of the course will include theory and new research, combined with exercises to analyze innovation and innovation processes in organizations.


Completed upper secondary education.


“Democratizing Innovation”, von Hippel, Eric (2005), the MIT Press, Boston (Creative Commons License, download for free)
+ extra material (paper articles and academic articles)


  • INL1 - Assignments, 2.0, grading scale: A, B, C, D, E, FX, F
  • INL2 - Written Report, 4.0, grading scale: A, B, C, D, E, FX, F
  • SEM1 - Seminars, 1.5, grading scale: A, B, C, D, E, FX, F

Offered by

ITM/Industrial Economics and Management


Serdar Temiz,, 08-790 77 28


Terrence Brown <>

Supplementary information

NB. The course has limited seats.


Course syllabus valid from: Autumn 2016.
Examination information valid from: Autumn 2012.